Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bailouts for Bookstores

A couple of days ago the WSJ had an article on my favorite crackhouse- the indie bookstore. Who's Minding the Bookstore is about the indie bookstore's surprising bailout-- their panic stricken loyal customers.

I love bookstores, as much as I love public libraries, and the article mentions a nearby bookstore, Community Bookstore.

    At the Community Bookstore, in Brooklyn, the owner, Catherine Bohne, composed this email to her customers last February: "I've gambled and staked everything I have, including every last asset, every ounce of my energy, and . . . it seems it isn't enough to make things work." ...

So John Turturro and six other investors, not all of them with quite as much disposable income, bailed out Community Bookstore. On top of that, a customer renegotiated its mortgage, so all in all I can now safely continue to buy books at the same store as Paul Auster.

This phenomenon seems to be happening nationwide. I have to admit that I read mostly books from the library, but when I buy books, I think bookstores should be 'hood. You should walk into an independent bookstore anywhere in the world and know exactly what kind of neighborhood, city, place your feet are planted. Like eating its food. So yes, I buy most of my books the old fashioned way. While sinking into the catharsis best found squatting, legs cramping, eyes squinting at spines, looking for that one book...

    photo of a bookstore in Belfast by _SiD_ via flickr

5 comments:

mfaorbust said...

I always stop by the Community Bookstore. Admittedly, it's because I adore Priscilla, that fat ball of dog fur and affection.

I'm bummed that the two used bookstores down the street have closed up shop, though. Those were both great, great stores. And now the storefronts are just empty. I have no idea why the landlord would prefer getting paid no rent vs. getting paid less rent, but...

PiggyBankBlues said...

i know! i loved those bookstores as well. i always have these grand illusions of owning a bookstore, but really-- talk about a business that loses more money than it earns...

Ms. M&P said...

What a great story. I love it that the community the bookstore served came to its rescue. It seems fitting.

I also love community bookstores. Kramers and Politics and Prose are my favorites in DC. Hand picked books are the best.

PiggyBankBlues said...

thanks for the bookstore tips, m&p, i will have to add them to my east coast book browsing tour... maybe this summer i will finally make it to the library of congress. does the public get to go inside that one??

Ms. M&P said...

You would LOVE the library of congress! It's amazing. I nearly cried the first time I went there. It's accessible to the public and you can get a free library card even if you're just visiting. There are areas of roped-off books that you can only use for research purposes, but that's actually the library I use for personal use.